WWE SmackDown Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from July 4

The Doctor Chris Mueller@@BR_DoctorFeatured ColumnistJuly 5, 2014

WWE SmackDown Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from July 4

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Every week on Bleacher Report, I take an in-depth look at WWE SmackDown to recap the action, offer analysis and grade the matches, segments and anything else that takes place on the show. I also provide some predictions on the direction of storylines.

    Having an episode of SmackDown air on Independence Day means two things: lots of patriotic videos and a feud between an American and a foreign Superstar.

    This week featured the return of Chris Jericho to the blue brand, a U.S. title match featuring nobody from the United States and more of The Authority flexing their muscles.

    This was by no means a great show, but two good matches helped make it watchable. Let's take a look at everything that went down on SmackDown this week.

A Cracked Shield

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    SmackDown opened with Seth Rollins talking about how Dean Ambrose screwed him out of winning the WWE World Heavyweight title on Monday. Ambrose came out to respond to the trash-talking and a fight broke out between the former partners.

    Randy Orton ran out to help Rollins, but Roman Reigns was right there to make sure it was an even fight. Once Triple H came out, he made a match with a convenient stipulation to help his protege.

    This was all pretty standard stuff for an opening segment. It set up how the rest of the show will play out, and it gave a handful of relevant Superstars their dose of TV time.

    While it was about as average as average gets, there is something that always stands out when members of The Shield are involved, even if they are no longer a group.

    Grade: B-

    Some notes from the segment:

    • Reigns has a new tactical-style vest. It kind of looks like the shirt Rollins wears to the ring before his matches.
    • Ambrose had his shoulder all taped up to sell the injury at Money in the Bank. It's nice to see that someone backstage is paying attention to little details like that.

Ireland vs. Mexico on Independence Day

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    On America's birthday, we have an Irishman defending the United States Championship against a Mexican. It doesn't get much more international than that.

    It's hard to get excited about a match we feel like we have seen hundreds of times, but Alberto Del Rio and Sheamus have built up a great chemistry over the years, allowing them to have entertaining matches on a consistent basis.

    Both men fight a very stiff style, but their personal move sets are so different that it makes for an interesting clash.

    Sheamus ended up retaining his title after both men countered each other's finishers several times.

    Grade: B+

    Some notes from the match:

    • I love when Lilian Garcia introduces Del Rio in Spanish for some reason.
    • Sheamus hit a running cross body that was clearly supposed to take both men over the top rope, but Del Rio biffed it and had to roll under the bottom rope to make it appear like he was hurt.
    • It's funny how this went from being a world title feud two years ago to being a U.S. title feud today.

Bo Don't Know Bull

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    Bo Dallas dedicated this match to "little" Daniel Bryan before it got started. Diego only had El Torito by his side since Fernando was injured.

    Diego managed to put up a good fight for about a minute, but he wasn't able to stop Dallas from extending his winning streak to 12 and Bo.

    This was about the same as every other match we have seen from Dallas on the main roster, which means it was short and underwhelming.

    Grade: D+

    Some notes from the match:

    • I die a little inside every time I use "Bo" instead of the number zero, but I can't resist for some reason.
    • The post-match segment between Dallas and El Torito looks like it might spark a feud. God help us.
    • El Torito is probably the only person on the roster Dallas can press above his head.
    • I was going to fail this if Dallas did not use the word "Bovine."


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    Jericho made his return to SmackDown to address the attack he suffered at the hands of The Wyatt Family on Raw. He actually thanked them for reminding him what WWE is all about.

    This was a much more serious promo from Jericho than he usually gives as a babyface, which was a really nice change of pace. He is really good at playing the rockstar, but he is just as good at being intense and focused.

    Bray Wyatt came on the big screen to officially introduce himself to Y2J, but when he called Wyatt out, Miz was the one who showed up. Hollywood's red-headed stepchild told Jericho that he could have helped him against The Wyatt Family, but Jericho gave him a Codebreaker and ruined any chance of them teaming up.

    Unsurprisingly, he got another knee to the face as soon as he stepped through the ropes. The segment was nothing special, but it did get me excited for what's to come in the feud between Wyatt and Jericho. 

    Grade: C+

    Some notes from the segment:

    • I honestly do not understand why any sane adult would style their hair like Jericho.
    • Either WWE has something big planned for Miz or it doesn't think his new movie will matter enough to push him while promoting it.
    • I have always liked Jericho, but I wish he would do something different once in awhile. His feud with Wyatt will be great, but I kind of want heel Y2J back. Not the slow-talking version, but the one who always has a sharp tongue and no regard for the crowd's feelings.

Big E Dangerously

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    Big E said he was taking this match to stand up for his friend, Kofi Kingston. Luckily, he did not suffer the same fate. The match never even got started because Cesaro went right after Big E before the ref had a chance to ring the bell.

    The fight spilled to the outside immediately, and they brawled all around the ring. Big E got thrown around quite a bit, but it was Cesaro who ended up retreating with Paul Heyman by his side.

    If WWE was only going to give them a couple of minutes, then this was the best way to use that time. It was a short fight with a lot of aggression and will clearly lead to something bigger down the line.

    Grade: B-

    Some notes from the match:

    • Cesaro already has his eye patch off. It's probably for the best since depth perception would be very important when hitting his huge uppercut.
    • Considering Cesaro is in the midst of a push, this will probably not end well for Big E, which is sad given that he did not come out on top during his feud with Rusev.
    • You might have to be over the age of 13 to get the title to this slide.

Red Is the New Green

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    Even WWE's most talented Diva couldn't make Eva Marie look good in this match. Even her slap to AJ's face looked sloppy, and everyone knows how to slap someone in the face.

    AJ picked up a quick win with the Black Widow. Paige came into the ring following the match and shook AJ's hand to show there were no hard feelings after AJ won the title on Raw.

    I actually feel a little bad for Eva Marie. It wasn't her choice to be called up to the main roster so fast, and she did not have nearly enough training before being thrown into matches on Raw and SmackDown.

    She has decent charisma and a great look, so hopefully she gets better as she goes. AJ vs. Paige should be a great feud once they have a chance to have a real match.

    Grade: D

    Some notes from the match:

    • Somebody needs to get AJ a sandwich.
    • Did I miss Eva Marie's heel turn? I am pretty sure she was a babyface in her last match.
    • Since WWE did not upload this match, I have included this week's JBL and Cole Show.

Born in the USSR

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    This wasn't even a match. Damien Sandow was supposed to be impersonating Bruce Springsteen, but his time was cut short by Lana and Rusev.

    Rusev easily dispatched Sandow before Lana gave another one of her pro-Russia speeches, which brought out Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter to continue their budding feud with Rusev.

    It was a little surprising to hear Colter still talk about illegal immigration since Swagger is basically turning babyface, but he did give Russia credit for inventing Vodka, so that's something.

    Rusev backed down and chose not to engage Swagger, which is the smart play. WWE needs to push this feud through to Battleground, and having them fight every time they see each other will get old very fast.

    Grade: C

    Some notes from the segment:

    • I expected more patriotic phrases to come from this segment seeing as it is Independence Day.
    • I really like the silent, confident Swagger. His size is enough to make him intimidating, but his stare is pretty scary, too.
    • I like the contrast and chemistry between Colter and Lana. This is a feud that could really turn Swagger's career around if the end result is him defeating Rusev.

A Diamond Cutter in the Rough

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    Orton and Ambrose had a pretty good match, but it looked even better because the rest of the show was so average.

    Ambrose picked up the victory via disqualification after Rollins hit him with the MITB briefcase, but it wasn't as if the attack was unprovoked. Ambrose took the first shot when he dove over the announce table onto Rollins.

    Rollins and Orton teamed up on Ambrose after the match, but Reigns was there to make the save once again. The Shield may be over, but it's great to see Ambrose and Reigns still having each other's backs.

    Grade: B

    Some notes from the match:

    • This is one of those rare situations where a DQ finish was actually the best way to go.
    • I would normally say that Reigns helping Ambrose twice in one night would make Ambrose look weak, but Ambrose comes across as tough no matter what happens.

Final Thoughts and Predictions

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    All in all, this was a very lukewarm SmackDown. The main event and U.S. title matches were good but they weren't amazing, and none of the other matches or segments stood out as memorable.

    The only thing new that is happening right now is the developing rivalry between Jericho and Wyatt. The confusing thing about all this is why Miz is being used as a punching bag for Jericho.

    Swagger's face turn remains interesting, but it is only going to benefit him if he comes out on top in his feud with Rusev.

    Battleground is just over two weeks away, but WWE has yet to officially set most of the matches for the event. This week's predictions will revolve around the possible Battleground card.


    • Dallas will suffer his first loss to El Torito.
    • AJ will retain in a rematch against Paige.
    • Cameron and Naomi will finally have their showdown.
    • John Cena will retain his title and go on to face Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam.
    • Swagger will hand Rusev his first defeat.
    • Ambrose will beat Rollins in a singles match, but Rollins will have the last laugh.

    What did you think of this week's SmackDown?

    Thanks for reading, and follow me on Twitter: @BR_Doctor.